Our Lord’s suffering on the cross is magnified through our Lady of Sorrows. That is her role. She magnifies the Lord. When she says, “My soul magnifies the Lord’ of course it means she is praising the Lord, but I like the play on words which shows her role in the drama of salvation: she shows God’s glory. She exhibits the work of grace that God wants to do for all humanity. She makes it bigger and clearer to see. In other words, she magnifies the Lord.
Our Lady of Sorrows announces loud and clear in large print what St Paul says in today’s reading about our share in the suffering of Christ: “Even now I find my joy in the sufering I endure for you. In my own flesh I fill up what is lacking in the suffering of Christ for the sake of his body the church.”
What a deep mystery this is! That the suffering we endure is an identification with the cross of Christ. Yes, we affirm that Christ’s sacrifice on the cross of Calvary was the full, final, complete sacrifice and oblation, but it is also true that our own sufferings when ‘offered up’ can be an identification with that one, full, final sacrifice. They are, if you like, part of the continuation and application of that suffering. They are the waves rippling out through all time and through the cosmos of the stone dropped into the pond on Good Friday.
In Westminster Cathedral there is a large crucifix suspended over the altar. On the back of the crucifix is painted Our Lady of Sorrows–this is the image the priest sees as he celebrates Mass, and this is the image every priest should carry next to his heart–that as Our Lady suffered in identification with Christ, and as St Paul did the same, so did every saint, and so must we.
What a powerful image! Thank you, Father Dwight.
I was struck by the fact that Our Lady leads us by example in taking up our crosses behind Our Lord. Beautiful meditation, Father.
Lovely post, Father. Thank you.
WAY cool that the image of Our Lady of Sorrows is painted on the back of the Westminster crucifix, benefitting the priest!! You ordained folk get to be in some of the most amazing situations (physically, spiritually, connected-with-tradition-wise, etc.), I’ve noticed.~Margo